On 20 December 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law Republic Act No. 9858 entitled “An Act Providing for the Legitimation of Children Born to Parents Below Marrying Age, Amending for the Purpose the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended.”
Prior to Republic Act 9858, Article 177 of Executive Order No. 209 (“Family Code of the Philippines”) provided that “(o)nly children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other may be legitimated.” Legitimation takes place by a subsequent valid marriage between the parents. (Article 178, Family Code)
One impediment to marriage is minority. Thus, before Republic Act 9858, if one or both parents are minors at the time of conception of their child, the latter could not be legitimated and would perpetually have the status of an “illegitimate” child unless he is legally adopted (Article 165 in relation to Article 189 of the Family Code).
Republic Act 9858 amended Article 177 of the Family Code such that if the child were born to parents disqualified to marry each other simply because either or both of them were below 18 years of age, he may also be legitimated by the marriage of his parents. Article 177 of the Family Code now reads:
“Art. 177. Children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, or were so disqualified only because either or both of them were below eighteen (18) years of age, may be legitimated.”